Public health experts in India say the country could see a long pause in the rapid spread of Covid-19 and a gradual decrease in the severity of infection, but it’s too early to believe that the pandemic is nearing its end, reports The Economic Times.
The steady state phase of covid
“Given the fact that we had a huge Delta wave and fair amount of vaccination, unless a new variant comes, the trend is towards a decline,” said K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
Reddy said the world is moving towards a steady state where it will see a gradual decrease in the severity of cases, but there will still be vulnerable people requiring hospitalisation.
The situation requires constant vigil. “Since initial detection has primarily been in vaccinated travelers, this should not be taken to mean that Omicron infection will also be mild in high-risk unvaccinated subjects,” Insacog said. “The threat level remains high and requires constant vigil as the situation rapidly evolves with community spread.”
Is it the end?
Experts, however, said it is wrong to believe that this is the end of the pandemic.
“A pause maybe, but not the end. Best is to monitor and be ready to respond. Hope for a long pause meanwhile,” said Anurag Agrawal, director at CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB). IGIB is part of Insacog, the national consortium that monitors genomic variations of Covid-19.
According to senior epidemiologist Giridhara Babu, it would be a mistake to think that quelling the Omicron variant will be the end of the pandemic.
The different variants
“We have been surprised by variants of concern each time such narratives are discussed. Sustained and strong disease surveillance will provide the data needed for deciding whether this pandemic is over,” he said.
Soaring omicron cases
For the last few days, metros including Mumbai and Delhi have been reporting a sharp decline in new Covid-19 cases. Even India’s daily positivity rate, which is considered to be a key marker of the pandemic’s status, has dropped to 15.52% from Monday’s 20.75%, while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 17.17%.
Insacog said on Sunday that Omicron is in community transmission, cautioning that the threat level remains “unchanged”.
It expects that the spread of Omicron in India is through internal transmission and not on account of those who have travelled overseas.
Did you subscribe to our daily Newsletter?
It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe
Source: The Economic Times